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Bangladeshi start-ups homing in on billion-dollar valuation: ICT state minister

Star Business Report
Bangladesh's technology start-ups are catching the attention of venture capital (VC) firms, which have put in about $200 million in funding over the last four years, said ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak yesterday

"The more the start-up ecosystem is maturing, the more the venture capital funding is coming," he said at the inauguration of local merchant bank IDLC's VC fund at a ceremony held at the InterContinental Dhaka.

In just four years Bangladesh has nurtured several companies that are commanding hundred million dollars in valuation.

"And within the next few years a few of these might be valued at a billion dollars," Palak added.

IDLC's VC fund has kicked off with a moderate sum of Tk 45 crore and a tenure of 7 years. Its sponsors' contribution is Tk 5 crore.

"Start-ups can create more employment than any formal sector and we are very proud that the Bangladesh government not only understands the issue but is also pushing for the creation of this culture," said Arif Khan, chief executive officer and managing director of IDLC Finance.

IDLC has already got 80 applications from different start-ups. Of them 15 have been shortlisted.

Without developing the entrepreneurial culture the country's overall development will not be possible, Palak said.

"Venture capitals like IDLC can play a huge role here."

Investors from Silicon Valley, Singapore and some other developed markets are coming to Bangladesh often in search of start-ups to invest in.

"This is the outcome of an initiative the ICT division has taken a few years back," Palak said, while citing the creation of the Start-up Bangladesh project in 2016 as the turning point.

Already the government has approved the Start-up Bangladesh Company (SBCL) with the view to investing in different start-ups. A few hundred crores of taka have been allocated for the company, Palak said, adding that SBCL will be registered within the next few weeks.

"SBCL and IDLC can complement each other in establishing the start-up ecosystem in Bangladesh," the minister added.

IDLC said through this fund they have plans to make investments in early stage companies that are providing technology-enabled solutions to consumers and businesses of Bangladesh.

The fund will focus on certain sectors such as financial technology, entertainment and lifestyle, enterprise solutions, travel and logistics, core technologies, education technologies, food technologies, agricultural technologies, and internet devices.

IDLC Asset Management, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDLC Finance, will manage the fund under the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (Alternative Investment) rules.

Individual investors can invest in the fund but they will have to come with at least Tk 50 lakh. For institutional investors the number is Tk 2 crore.

The investment lock-in period is three years.

Khan said they believe that this will be a great opportunity for the investor community to boost the start-up scene as well as generate substantial return for all stakeholders.

Young entrepreneurs are really helping in nation-building and they deserve more support from the financial institutions.

The objective of IDLC Venture Capital Fund is to provide investors with risk-adjusted returns through investing in, nurturing, and then exiting from early stage companies.

"In about 80 per cent of the cases venture capital fund may not work. But if one single start-up clicks it will cover up for the rest."

The fund will provide investors with an investment vehicle that is diversified from the usual ones in Bangladesh, Khan added.

About the country's move towards digitalisation Palak said they are building 28 ICT parks across the country for start-ups.

Already, the government got huge response from the parks that have been made operational.

He cited the case of Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park in Jashore, which is packed to the rafters with 50 companies.

"But initially when we have set up the park people were teasing us, saying who will go there? But now we cannot manage space as every company is asking for more space," he said, adding that even companies from Dhaka have shifted there.

Access to funding is very important for the start-up culture and if financial institutions like IDLC can shoulder that responsibility the country will certainly get new ICT heroes, Palak added.

Currently, there are 17 venture capital licence-holders in Bangladesh but only a few are in operation.

Apart from those, there are some other foreign ones investing in Bangladesh's start-ups. 

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12:00 AM, October 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, October 06, 2020

SydneySun to set up video surveillance equipment plant

Star Business Report

SydneySun International and its technology partner Dahua of China will invest $5 million at Summit Technopolis at the Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Gazipur to build the country's first video surveillance equipment manufacturing plant. 

Abu Reza Khan, managing director of Summit Technopolis and Sagor Kumar Tito, managing director of SydneySun International, yesterday signed a land lease agreement to set up the plant over one acre of land, said Summit Group in a press release.

The prefabricated plant construction of semi-knocked down video surveillance equipment will begin soon and is expected to be operational by January 2021.

Initially, SydneySun is expected to employ about 90 Bangladeshi engineers along with 10 foreign experts. The manufactured products will be sold in both local and foreign markets.

Set up in 2004, SydneySun International is the distributor of safety and surveillance video solutions and is the sole authorised distributor of Dahua Technology of China.

It has deployed the city surveillance in Cox's Bazar and end-to-end solutions for the central command of the Bangladesh Highway Police, the press release said.

Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, and Md Shahid-ul-Munir, president of the Bangladesh Computer Samity, were present at the signing ceremony.

Summit Group Vice-Chairman Latif Khan and directors Fadiah Khan and Salman Khan attended the meeting virtually.



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Bangladesh to launch ‘Jogajog’ as alternative to Facebook, says Palak

Published:  July 24, 2021 18:45:29 | Updated:  July 24, 2021 18:48:43

Bangladesh is going to create its own social media platform called ‘Jogajog’ as an alternative to Facebook and ‘Alapon” for WhatsApp, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak said on Saturday. 

He said this while speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural function of "Entrepreneurship Masterclass Series 2" organised by Women e-Commerce.

“Through this(Jogajog app)  the entrepreneurs of the country will be able to create their own online marketplace and group for information, data and communication .”

Palak explained how his ministry successfully created ‘Boithok’ app as an alternative to Zoom online and ‘Surokkha App’ for vaccine registration.

He said the digital e-commerce policy of 2018 aims to create 20 lakh jobs in the ICT sector by 2021.

He further said that e-commerce, hardware, software and BPO sectors will be able to meet the target of more than 20 lakh jobs by 2021.

In addition, it will be possible to earn 5 billion US dollars in export revenue by 2025, the minister hoped, reports UNB. 

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Unlocking the growth potential of IT sector through mitigating financial barriers 

 Zulkarin Jahangir, Abdullah Hasan Safir and Tanjim-Ul-Islam  | Published:  August 12, 2021 22:12:22 | Updated:  August 12, 2021 22:21:46

The unique level of commitment from Bangladesh's government for digitisation has been working as a driving force for the country to thrive in the digital economy. The current government has accelerated the rapid digitisation and smart use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to spur progress in almost all sectors in Bangladesh (Strategic Priorities for Bangladesh, A2i, 2011). In this context, partnering with the University of Oxford's Digital Pathways Initiative, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), intended to chart a pathway for Bangladesh to decide holistic strategies to accelerate its inclusive growth in the digital age. The study identified three opportunity areas and 13 strategies to leverage those opportunities for the purpose of ensuring inclusive growth.

The first opportunity area revolves around scaling up the BPO and IT/Software industry in the strategy primer. The study identified several bottlenecks hindering the growth of the industry. In this series of op-eds, the various bottlenecks will be analysed along with recommended policy measures. The first op-ed presented here illustrates financial and regulatory barriers that hamper the growth of this industry and discusses relevant strategies to mitigate the issues.

WHERE DOES THE BPO AND IT/SOFTWARE INDUSTRY CURRENTLY STAND?: Software development firms share 47 per cent of the market for the technology industry in Bangladesh (BASIS and LICT). Bangladesh's IT/ITES industry is expected to grow nearly five-fold to reach USD 4.6-4.8 billion revenue by 2025 (BCG Everest Group). Evaluating the size of the BPO industry is difficult as a mix of enterprises drives it. There are 500,000 regular freelancers and 2,500 agencies that are serving in different freelancing platforms. Besides, more than 120 call centres have been operating in Bangladesh, and in FY 2016-17, they earned approximately USD 300 million reportedly. Among the top 250 global IT-ITES delivery locations, Bangladesh is one of the lowest cost destinations offering significant savings over many of its counterparts, including well established and dominant offshore centres such as India and the Philippines (BCG Everest Group, 2017). The ability to operate at significantly lower costs than India and the Philippines is one of Bangladesh's IT/ITES industry's key value propositions.


a) Existing gaps in Foreign Direct Investment: Bangladesh currently ranks 168th out of 190 economies in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. Although the 7th five-year plan targeted USD 9.6 billion FDI annual inflow by FY2020, it was only USD 1.6 billion in 2019, falling by 56 per cent compared to USD 3.6 billion in 2018. The FDI to GDP ratio in Bangladesh was 0.7 per cent in 2019, which is one of Asia's lowest values, even lower than peer countries like India, Vietnam, and the Philippines (World Bank, 2020). Furthermore, with special incentives such as 100 per cent equity control on the businesses, the software and IT industry received USD 26.1 million foreign direct investment in FY 2019-20 whereas India's computer software and hardware industry garnered USD 7.67 billion FDI during the same FY. Lower affordability and accessibility of ICT hardware, software, and services and inadequate internet bandwidth on both the demand and supply side are some of the sector-specific hurdles to attract foreign direct investment in the industry.

b) Barriers for the local investors: Local private investors can avail of corporate income tax exemption on their investment from BIDA and Hi-Tech Park authority for the first 10 years. However, there are struggles at various stage of operations for IT companies. In the initial stages, the private banks do not cater to their requests for loans due to the high risks associated with the sector in the absence of a proper mechanism or practice to quantify the value of IT work in Bangladesh (Bangladesh Sectoral Growth Diagnostic, EDIG, 2017). Secondly, in comparison with the Indian or Filipino offshore industry, the industry in Bangladesh is still nascent; therefore, investors need to build entire ecosystems investing in training talent and infrastructure which is often burdensome for the local investors (Everest Group Research, 2017). Besides, there is an inherent entry barrier for new and small entrepreneurs in the industry with policies inclined to the large producers/ exporters. For example, IT firms with less than 200-bit data storage have to bear a larger burden of tax compared to the firms with higher data storage.

c) Weaker cross-border payment system: The cross-border payment system works as a significant obstacle in Bangladesh compared to its neighbouring countries. The payment system in Bangladesh operates through international bank transfer, which is a time-consuming, tedious, and costly option. Many companies prefer not to use these services, and instead, prefer to go through informal channels. In the absence of international payment gateways like PayPal, freelancers, and small and medium IT/ITES service providers usually deal with very few direct clients outside the marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork. Bangladesh, as a consequence, is losing a considerable amount of revenue every year.



ENSURING ADEQUATE FINANCING AND FIXING THE REGULATORY BARRIERS: From the discussion, it is clear that the financing and regulatory issues work as developmental hindrances affecting the growth and sustainability of the IT/ITES Sector in Bangladesh. Considering the challenges, the primer discussed following strategies to make Bangladesh IT industry recognised globally as a  premium service location for IT/ITES/BPO by increasing financial attractiveness and enabling the business environment:

Improve the overall business environment, including regulatory or legal adaptability to attract foreign investors to invest in the IT/ITES industry: Enforcing contracts, registering property, trading across borders, getting electricity, and resolving insolvency are the bottom five indicators for Bangladesh's Doing Business Index, where Bangladesh has performed poorly. These are areas where improvement of the indicators is pertinent. Among the regional competitor countries of Bangladesh, India has the highest rank (63rd) on the World Banks' Doing Business Index, while Vietnam, with its 70th position, continues to be a magnet for attracting foreign direct investment. Both these countries proactively improved their business and investment environment for foreign companies. India's strategy was to reform areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency (The World Bank, 2019). On the other hand, Vietnam's reforms have focused on access to credit and payment of taxes (Vietnam Briefing, 2019).

       Bangladesh can benefit from following Vietnam's strategies by focusing on improving access to credit and simplifying the payment mechanism of taxes to have a quick jump on the Doing Business ladder. This is to mention that streamlining the administrative procedures through digitisation worked as a key step for Vietnam in this regard. Moreover, to attract foreign investors in the IT industry, Bangladesh essentially needs to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of the internet, ICT hardware, software, and services in rural and remote areas.

Encourage the local investors with incentives to invest in the IT/ITES industry to compete with the foreign investors equally: One of the significant problems local investors face here is access to credit. In general, having access to credit in Bangladesh is more complicated than the regional competitor countries like India (Bangladesh ranks 119th and India ranks 25th in Doing Business Index 2020 for this indicator). Bangladesh needs to formulate an integrated or unified legal framework for secured transactions that extend to the creation, publicity, and enforcement of functional equivalents to security interests in movable assets (as an alternative of collaterals) to encourage local investors. At the same time, banks and financial institutions should have access to borrowers' credit information online, which might be through a secured online platform.

       For IT industries, proper mechanisms need to be in place to quantify the value of IT work to reduce the sector-specific difficulties to access credit from the banks. The higher  interest rate should be reduced, and the investors in this industry should receive borrowing and loan benefits like in the RMG sector. Incentives should be taken to create a  level playing field for the new and small entrepreneurs in the industry who are often not tenanted in the formal economic zones.

Initiate platforms to ease the process of international payment: PayPal is the most popular digital payment method, currently available in 203 countries globally, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. Even though PayPal is welcomed by the ITES providers and the service seekers worldwide, it's not available in Bangladesh. This platform can facilitate speed, convenience, and international transactions' security - something precious for users, especially for the freelancers with recurring transactions.

 The Banking Company Act, 1991 states that Bangladesh Bank is an autonomous body; however, the establishment of the Banking Division by the Ministry of Finance (MoF)           has practically reduced Bangladesh Bank's capacity and jurisdiction. Therefore, despite facing no obstacles from the central bank, PayPal cannot operate in Bangladesh due           to   bureaucratic complexities. To avoid losing a considerable amount of revenue from foreign direct clients in the freelancing sector every year, MoF might be able to play a           role based on the non-objection of the central bank.

Although a payment system called Xoom has been introduced instead of PayPal in Bangladesh, it cannot be regarded as a proper replacement as this platform contains similar difficulties like other conventional payment systems like bank transfers. Therefore, even if alternative platforms are introduced, it must offer a money transfer experience as smooth as PayPal.

The removal of the financial and regulatory barriers through implementing the aforementioned strategies can contribute towards scaling up the BPO and IT industry in the country. That would allow the sector to generate broader employment creation opportunities for the youth. However, one of the core challenges for the industry is supplying skilled professionals. The next op-ed of the series will focus on this shortage of skilled labour.

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TBS Report

16 August, 2021, 07:50 pm

Last modified: 16 August, 2021, 08:00 pm

Backdoor inks deal with Modhumoti bank to provide digital system security

Under this agreement, Backdoor, a digital security firm, will monitor the bank’s network 24/7 and detect all types of threats and recommend necessary measures in a bid to prevent potential threats or hacking



Modhumoti Bank and Backdoor Private Ltd signed an agreement on Monday for securing the bank's network and digital transactions.

Managing Director and CEO of Modhumoti Bank Md Shafiul Azam and Managing Director of Backdoor Private Ltd Tanvir Hassan Zoha inked the deal on behalf of their companies at the bank's head office in Gulshan, said a Modhumoti Bank press release. 

Board of Director of Modhumoti Bank A Mannan Khan, Sponsor Director Rafiur Rahman Khan, DMD Shahnawaj Chowdhury and Backdoor's Business Development Director Nurfath Mahbuba Rinha were also present at the signing ceremony.

Under this agreement, Backdoor, a digital security firm, will monitor the bank's network 24/7 and detect all types of threats and recommend necessary measures in a bid to prevent potential threats or hacking.

The digital security firm will provide real-time notification about anyone who tries to compromise the digital security systems of the bank, what kind of attempts are coming up from which destinations, which are the real security alerts and how they are being dealt with by Backdoor's security analysts, the release said. 

In this regard, Managing Director of Backdoor Private Ltd Tanvir Hassan Zoha said, "Banking systems need to be protected from the ever-increasing known and unknown threats. None can afford to leave the system unprotected simply because of not having technology like SOC or shortage of experienced analysts."

According to the release, Modhumoti Bank signed the deal as per the instruction of the Bangladesh Bank to establish a Security Operation Centre (SOC) at every bank. The instruction came after the heist of $81 million from the central bank in 2016.

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Abbas Uddin Noyon

19 August, 2021, 06:35 pm

Last modified: 19 August, 2021, 10:44 pm

City Group to invest Tk5,000cr to build hi-tech park

Work on setting up the hi-tech park in Demra will begin in two years and is expected to create 15,000 jobs



Consumer goods giant City Group is set to enter the booming IT sector with an initial investment of Tk5,000 crore in setting up a hi-tech park.

Biswajit Saha, executive director of City Group, said the government's Hi-Tech Park Authority on Thursday approved the conglomerate as a park developer, after conducting a feasibility study.

Work on setting up the hi-tech park on a 115-acre land in Demra, Dhaka will begin within the next two years, he said, adding that the investment target has been set at Tk5,000 crore to build the world's most modern IT park.

He said the establishment is expected to create employment opportunities for some 15,000 people.

Biswajit Saha said there will be a technology university, training institute, convention centre, 5-star hotel, playground, and infrastructures for the production of and research on electronics in the industrial park.

"Global tech giants, including Apple and Samsung, will be invited here. At the same time, City Group will establish its own ICT company."

On 31 May this year, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority declared City Hi-Tech Park as a private hi-tech park, City Group officials said.

As a result, investors in the park will get 14 incentives, including a 10-year tax holiday, through a one-stop service, they added.

Biswajit Saha said City Group has already completed the preparation of a master plan, feasibility study and environmental survey.

After being recognised as a developer, the industrial group will now get the opportunity to do all types of work, including developing all off-site and on-site facilities, landfilling, electricity, gas and water supply, construction of standard buildings, wide roads inside the park, lakes, high-quality food courts, STPs and parks, he added.

Md Hasan, director of City Group and chairman of City Hi-tech Park Ltd, said, "We will manufacture electronics and technology products that no one could even think of making in Bangladesh.

"We will encourage investments to set up units for making microprocessor, chip designing, circuit designing, manufacturing/assembling of mobile phones, laptops, televisions and fridges, software development, digital and technology consultancy firms, network, data centres, cybersecurity, programming, project management and training institutes for human resource development, etc. Dormitories and science parks will also be set up."

He also said construction work on the IT park has been initially targeted to be completed in 5-7 years.

Speaking on approving City Group for developing the hi-tech park, NM Ziaul Alam, senior secretary of the ICT Division, said City Group is a popular name in the country as well as abroad. Other companies in the country will also be encouraged to invest in the sector by seeing a big company like City Group coming forward to set up a hi-tech park, he observed.

City Group is a major conglomerate in the country's consumer goods production. At present, the business group caters to one-third of the total demand for consumer goods in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi businessman Fazlur Rahman founded City Group. Its activities started on 6 February 1972 with the production of mustard oil.

The leading business conglomerate in the country now has an investment in more than 25 large industries including food products, steel, printing and packaging, shipping, power and energy, financial institutions, insurance, stock market, hospitals and media.  

The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority is establishing hi-tech parks, software technology parks and IT training and incubation centres throughout the country to attract local and foreign investors for the development of Hi-Tech/ IT/ITES industries, which are creating huge employment opportunities and producing skilled human resources.

Hi-tech parks offer opportunities to invest in the hi-tech industry and promote businesses that are knowledge- and capital-based. Information technology, software technology, biotechnology, renewable energy, green technology, IT hardware, IT-enabled services and research and development, etc are major areas of investment in the hi-tech industry in Bangladesh.

Currently, eight hi-tech parks are being set up by the government, which include Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City, Kaliakoir – the first and largest technological park of Bangladesh established on an area of 355 acres. The government is also setting up 12 IT/hi-tech parks at the district level.

Apart from this, the government has recognised two factories of electronics giant Walton as hi-tech parks.

Samsung's Narsangdi and Minister Group's Gazipur factories are also getting the same facility. These factories are enjoying the zero-tariff facility on imports of all kinds of equipment, apart from enjoying tax-holiday for 10 years.

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সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচকে ২৭ ধাপ এগোল বাংলাদেশ

 ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক

 প্রকাশিত ০৯:২৫ রাত আগস্ট ২৩, ২০২১

সার্ক দেশগুলোর মধ্যে প্রথম অবস্থানে রয়েছে বাংলাদেশ

জাতীয় সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচকে বাংলাদেশের ২৭ ধাপ উন্নতি হয়েছে। ৫৯ দশমিক ৭৪ নম্বর পেয়ে সার্ক দেশগুলোর মধ্যে প্রথম হয়েছে বাংলাদেশ। 

এস্তোনিয়াভিত্তিক ই-গভর্নেন্স একাডেমি ফাউন্ডেশন বিশ্বের ১৬০টি দেশের সাইবার নিরাপত্তা ও ডিজিটাল উন্নয়ন পরিস্থিতি বিবেচনায় নিয়ে এ সূচক প্রস্তুত করেছে। সূচকে বাংলাদেশ বর্তমান অবস্থান ৩৮তম। গত ডিসেম্বর ২০২০ সালের সূচকে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান ছিল ৬৫তম।

মৌলিক সাইবার হামলা প্রতিরোধের প্রস্তুতি, সাইবার ঘটনা, অপরাধ ও বড় ধরনের সঙ্কট ব্যবস্থাপনায় তৎপরতা মূল্যায়ন করে জাতীয় সাইবার নিরাপত্তা সূচক (এনসিএসআই) তৈরি করা হয়।

সর্বশেষ সূচকে ৯৬ দশমিক ১০ স্কোর নিয়ে সবচেয়ে ভালো অবস্থায় আছে গ্রিস। এরপর ৯২ দশমিক ২১ স্কোর নিয়ে চেক রিপাবলিক ও ৯০ দশমিক ৯১ স্কোর নিয়ে এস্তোনিয়া দ্বিতীয় ও তৃতীয় অবস্থানে রয়েছে।

সূচকে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের অবস্থান ১৭ নম্বরে, যুক্তরাজ্য আছে ১৯তম অবস্থানে। প্রথম ২০টি দেশের মধ্যে এশিয়ার একমাত্র প্রতিনিধি সিঙ্গাপুরের অবস্থান ১৬ নম্বরে, শ্রীলংকা ৬৯তম, পাকিস্তান ৭০তম স্থানে। জাপান আছে ৩৪তম স্থানে, চীন আছে ৮৩তম স্থানে। এ অঞ্চলের দেশগুলোর মধ্যে ভারতের অবস্থান ৩৯তম।

সূচকে বাংলাদশের উন্নতি সম্পর্কে বাংলাদেশের সরকারের সাইবার সিকিউরিটি নিয়ে কাজ করা বিজিডি ই-গভ সার্ট’র প্রকল্প পরিচালক তারেক এম বরকতউল্লাহ অনলাইন সংবাদ মাধ্যম বাংলা ট্রিবিউনকে জানান, সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বাংলাদেশের সক্ষমতা দিন দিন বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে, যা আন্তর্জাতিক পরিমণ্ডলে স্বীকৃতি লাভ করছে। সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বিজিডি ই-গভ সার্ট নিরলসভাবে কাজ করে যাচ্ছে। এ ধরনের স্বীকৃতি আমাদেরকে সাইবার হামলা প্রতিহত করতে উৎসাহিত করবে এবং সাইবার নিরাপত্তায় বাংলাদেশের সক্ষমতা বৃদ্ধিতে সহায়তা করবে।

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Govt to provide training to 10,000 top IT executives within next five years

Published:  August 29, 2021 15:07:11 | Updated:  August 29, 2021 17:23:01

The government is going to provide training to 10,000 top executives, including Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) known as CXOs, and mid-level managers of IT companies under Advanced Certification for Management Professionals (ACMP) 4.0 training programme within next five years, officials said.

 “Backed by the success of the similar ACMP 4.0 training programme held previously the government is going to organize training for the CXOs and mid-level managers of IT companies to build their capacity to flourish their respective companies,” said senior secretary of ICT Division N M Zeaul Alam.

He said the government will continue to provide support to such training to boost the country’s IT sector and help achieve its $5 billion target of ICT export by 2025, reports UNB. 

The experts of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) will provide 120 hours of training to the CEOs and managers who played a vital role in making healthy growth of IT companies, he added.

The ACMP 4.0 programme was introduced at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University in 2017 in collaboration with LICT Project to boost the country’s IT sector. A total of 950 CXOs and managers have so far been given training under the ACMP 4.0 training programme.

LICT Project Director Tarique M Barkatullah said keeping the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution in mind, the government has been providing support to IBA to continue ACMP 4.O course for enhancing efficiency of the CXOs and managers for increasing business and earning of their companies. 

He said the training programme will provide a pragmatic approach towards transformational leadership in a dynamic, rapidly changing, interconnected and complex business environment influenced by digital disruptions and opportunities.

IT-ITES Policy Adviser of LICT Project Sami Ahmed said upon completion of the programme, the participants are expected to be better equipped to lead crafting and implementing strategies for growth acceleration of their businesses in the age of digital transformation. “Without enhancing managerial skills, a company could not flourish,” he added.

This extensive training programme consists of exclusive modules including communication 4.0, technology 4.0, supply chain 4.0, business analytics, marketing 4.0, Human Resource Management 4.0. The trainees will also get training on crafting and executing strategies, innovation, business model and entrepreneurial journey, scale up and growth acceleration strategy for IT/ITeS SMEs, strategy masterclass.


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Yousup Faruqu to lead Microsoft Bangladesh

Published:  September 05, 2021 15:50:35


Microsoft has appointed Md Yousup Faruqu as managing director of the tech giant's Bangladesh operations.

In his new role, Mr Faruqu will focus on accelerating digital transformation for public and private sector organisations, SMEs, communities, and industry verticals, collaborating with Microsoft’s robust partner ecosystem, said a press release.

“Bangladesh has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the Asia Pacific, and we’re proud to empower them in their aspirations to become a developed country by 2041. One of the ways they are doing this is by setting the pace for IT-enabled public services and growing the country’s cloud footprint. That’s where Faruqu’s extensive industry experience will play a crucial role in ensuring cloud adoption, skilling and transformation for the country. I’m excited to see how he and his team will continue building partnerships and capabilities together, in a market that is consistently brimming with innovation,” said Sook Hoon Cheah, General Manager, Southeast Asia New Markets, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Faruqu brings over 16 years of experience in technology transformation across Bangladesh. His prior experiences include roles with VMware, Banglalink Digital Communication, and Symbiosis Bangladesh.

He holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Applications from Bangalore University in Bengaluru, India, the statement said. 

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Bangladesh to provide tech services to Uzbekistan

Staff Correspondent
07 Sep 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 07 Sep 2021 02:45:04

Bangladesh is going to provide business process outsourcing, software services to Uzbekistan and participate in the country’s research and development projects.

The two countries agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard in October, said statement of the Information and Communication Technology Department of Bangladesh on Monday.

The decision was taken at a ministerial meeting between the two countries.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Alimjan Imarav, digital technology adviser to the prime minister of Uzbekistan and Ibrokhim Y Abdur Akhmanov, Innovative Development Minister were present in the meeting.

In the meeting, the Uzbek representatives shared their country’s recent progress in research and science while the Bangladeshi delegates highlighted the initiatives taken to implement the Digital Bangladesh Vision.

“After examining proposals and possibilities, an agreement will be reached with Uzbekistan in exchange for technology, manpower or services,” the ICT minister said.

The visiting delegation of technology businessmen also had a fruitful meeting on Friday with Samarkand Governor Erkinjan Turdimov and Bukhara Governor Oktam Barneyev on Sunday.

The delegation will return to the country on Tuesday after a seven-day visit.

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Mohsin Bhuiyan & Tarif Tahmeed Khan

09 September, 2021, 10:20 pm

Last modified: 09 September, 2021, 10:26 pm

Bangladesh next global big tech destination for e-health: World Bank

Bangladesh’s strong political support for digital health strategy has influenced the rapid proliferation of e-health initiatives in the country, says a World Bank report released Wednesday



Bangladesh is expected to be the next destination for global big tech investments in facilitating digital health services, thanks to the country's "strong tracking record in e-health policies and practices", says the World Bank.

The country's strong political support for digital health strategy, especially for e-health standards and interoperable health information exchange platforms, has influenced the rapid proliferation of such initiatives in the country, the global lender says in a report titled "The Converging Technology Revolution and Human Capital Potential and Implications for South Asia" released Wednesday.

The Bangladesh government's initiatives towards digital health services can be traced back from the earlier years of Internet use in the country when the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) published the Digital Health Guide Book 2009.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, convener of the Bangladesh Health Watch, told The Business Standard, "I think the World Bank report properly reflects the country's digital health services. This is because Bangladesh's private and public sectors have been receiving investments in e-health and m-health for a long time."

He said, "We have founded the Public Health and Informatics department in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Then, we started a Master's programme in health informatics at Bangladesh University of Health Science. Brac has been working on mobile health as well."

The former vice-chair of Brac was delighted to mention, "For the past 20 years we have been actively working with this sector. We have not only been able to develop the capacity to facilitate e-health, but also have made both technical and practical uses of it."

He said, "Technical and practical uses of e-health must go hand in hand to make these digital health services effective. Therefore, we have been focusing on getting investments for both of them.

"Looking back at our efforts, I can say that we have done very well."

The World Bank report highlights that the availability of digital health services in Bangladesh alone is not sufficient and that the key challenge is to overcome the underlying socioeconomic barriers to their use.

Bangladesh's ability to articulate health needs and to afford the required resources for digital health services are still in question.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza said, "We need to consider the information divide that has been existing in the country. It must be accessible to everyone from urban to remote areas of the country.

"Moreover, during the pandemic, we have seen significant changes in terms of adapting to digital health services and I believe that it will get more popular in the upcoming days."

The World Bank report says the country's achievements in e-government and innovation capabilities are more modest as it has the second-weakest business environment in South Asia.

It also mentions that the legal framework for data rights in Bangladesh is not strong.

Global big tech giants, such as Google, Microsoft and Tencent often invest in local technology start-ups, facilitating foreign direct research and development investments as well as technology and talent flows.

Currently, 70% of big global investments in the technology sector in 15 categories of digital health are made by the three tech companies, the report says.

The companies' investments also flowed to South Asia. For instance, at least 25% of Google's 57 digital health portfolio companies are actively working in India, and 33% have expanded into other parts of the region.

"Bangladesh is clearly the next destination", the report says.

Along with the country's strong track record in e-health policies and practices, Bangladesh also has local partners of tech giants like Amazon, Apple, IBM, GE, Cisco, Samsung, and Alibaba to conduct medical AI research, support clinical decisions, and expand telemedicine or directly serve customers.

Bangladesh's human capital challenges

In terms of research and development expenditures, Bangladesh accounts for only 0.2% of the total global expenditure while China does more than 23% and India 4%.

The World Bank states that there is no national social registry in Bangladesh which limits the ability to identify poor or vulnerable households and deliver cash quickly, however, the country is moving towards that direction.

Moreover, the gender gap remains a major concern in mobile phone ownership, which is the highest in India in South Asia, followed by Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Bangladesh could be the next Bangalore with IT outsourcing

 Tanveer Mohiuddin

 Published at 07:00 pm October 7th, 2021



Founders of Foxcatcher IT Solutions gives insight into the growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector of the country

IT outsourcing can be a great source of revenue for Bangladesh as the government is heavily investing in information technology. 

Bangalore, in the mid-nineties, began to realize this, and now the BPO industry employs 1.5 million people just in that city, contributing to 38% of the total Indian GDP according to data from 2014. 

The ICT sector in Bangladesh has been growing incrementally by 40% annually since 2010 and there are currently over 4500 registered software and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) companies in Bangladesh.

The domestic ITES industry in Bangladesh is currently valued at close to $1.1 billion. 

Neighbouring countries like India, China and other south and south-east Asian countries have been excelling in providing outsourcing services to foreign conglomerates, as cutting down expenses is one of the top-most priorities of any business establishment. 

Bangladesh being one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, has slowly developed the resources and infrastructure, combined with tech skilled labour to provide IT enabled services for overseas conglomerates. 

“This sector has the potential to bring in more remittance into the country,” said Ariq Hossain, one of the founders of Foxcatcher IT Solutions.

Founded in 2019, Foxcatcher IT Solutions is a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm that focuses on providing extensive offshoring services to overseas clients, from offshore real estate management, database management to mobile application development (Android, iOS, Appcelerator Titanium Platform).

The startup provides back-end technological support to overseas financial institutions and real estate companies. 

Foxcatcher IT Solutions is currently working with various international clients such as Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae among others. 

The real estate industry in the United States of America is one of the largest in the world and the banking sector deals with thousands of foreclosed properties each year.

With the help of various real estate implicated software, they are providing customer care based services, database management to the foreign banks, web development and traffic management as well as, backend call centre services. 


The ICT division of Bangladesh is already promoting small tech startups and providing them with funding. 

With the help of Basis (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services), the government took the initiative to promote and fund their members in order to establish the rapidly developing market in the ITES industry. 

“One of the biggest barriers we face is the time difference,” said  Moon Kowsive Rifat, co-founder of the company. 

“In most cases, offshore clients are in different time zones, so business hours of the largest outsourcing firm in the country have to work night shifts to maintain the real-time business,” he added.  

Because of this, younger people tend to see this sector as a temporary career choice rather than a one with tremendous opportunities to grow.   

It is often seen that there is a lack of gender diversity in the sector, in regard to that they said, one of the main reasons is that women are often not encouraged to work outside at late hours. 

According to Ariq, the government can provide a solution to these drawbacks by promoting ITES firms in different private and public universities to create awareness among the young, so they can get the confidence to choose their careers in this sector. 

“Fortune favours the bold,” as the old adage says, is the driving force behind this company’s ideology. They wanted to break the stereotype that only the students with a good GPA land highly paid jobs. 

“All of our partners gained experience in multiple MNCs before forming the firm but everyone around us had been the victim of the stereotype,” said Ariq. 

“One of our founders was a student in China’s Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications and another was a graduate student from Sunway University Malaysia and a result of a mutual acquaintance, we got together and brainstormed ideas regarding the outsourcing sector which they have witnessed in China and Malaysia,” he added while explaining why they had chosen this sector to start a business in. 


Unemployment among the youth is one of the biggest challenges, creating more job opportunities and catering to offshore clients can be a great solution to fight unemployment along with creating a global image for Bangladesh in the outsourcing market. 

In the past decade, there has been a growth in the ITES/ BPO sector due to the ICT division’s various initiatives which encouraged the youth to come forward and explore the mass opportunities that lie in outsourcing. 

It has also boosted the freelancing sectors creating part-time income sources for students, something which the country lacks.  

Currently, there are more than 24 employees working full-time in the startup. 

Top players in the sector like-- Tasketeers, Genesis and others have flourished. 

“Competition isn’t too harsh, as the majority of the market is still untapped,” the founders said. 

“The ultimate goal should be to provide a standard customer service experience to the offshore conglomerates which in the future might lead us to more remittance.” 

When asked what their plans are for the future, Ariq said: “Our primary purpose as an organization is to deliver high-quality ITES services by ensuring more accuracy, punctuality and confidentiality. We want to employ more people who will go the extra mile for clients. We want to further establish a culture of growth, profitability and enthusiasm throughout the company.”

They also said that they plan to expand their operations locally as well, which could help cut operational costs for their clients.

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Abul Kashem & Jahidul Islam

26 October, 2021, 11:05 pm

Last modified: 27 October, 2021, 10:11 am

Roadmap to $5 billion IT exports by 2025

The digital device manufacturing industry is expected to create at least one lakh jobs



The government is making a roadmap to facilitate the production of digital devices in the country to boost export earnings in the information and technology sector from the current $1 billion to $5 billion by 2025.

At the same time, the domestic market for ICT products and IT-enabled services is expected to reach $5 billion.

The government believes products such as mobile devices, computers, and laptops will play a major role in tapping in the prospective $10 billion IT market at home and abroad within next four years, which is why the new roadmap is aimed at capacity building of the local digital device manufacturing industry as well as promoting and branding domestically manufactured products in international markets, according to the ICT Division.

Proper implementation of this roadmap is expected to create at least one lakh jobs in the digital device manufacturing industry. The country will then be able to export laptops and mobile phones worth about $2 billion after meeting the domestic demand.

The new roadmap, drafted by the ICT Division, has recently been sent to various ministries and departments for their feedback.

The ICT Division expects that the implementation of the "Made in Bangladesh" action agenda will make Bangladesh a major hub of ICT and IoT (Internet of Things) device manufacturing. It will also support the agenda of universal access, the division hopes.

Officials at the division said increasing consumption of digital devices and consumer gadgets by the emerging middle and affluent classes has built the foundation for assisting the entry of Bangladesh into the international high-tech manufacturing industry.

The new roadmap recommends prioritising the use of locally produced ICT products in government procurement. To this end, initiatives will be taken to raise awareness among government officials involved in public purchases. It also suggests setting up hubs in Singapore, the UAE, England or any other country to facilitate the export of domestically produced ICT products.

In this new roadmap, emphasis is being laid on various issues including creation of skilled manpower, improvement of product quality, quality assurance, assessment of global demand, promotion of local products in foreign markets, protection of intellectual property, and increasing research.

Besides the ICT Division, various ministries, divisions, and other government entities – including the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Industries, the Ministry of Education, the Bangladesh Computer Council, the Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority, the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza), the Export Promotion Bureau, the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), the Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC), the National Skill Development Authority, and the University Grants Commission – will work together to implement the roadmap.

Various private institutions and organisations of entrepreneurs will also have important roles to play in making the roadmap a success.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Bangladesh imported 3.4 crore phones worth $1.18 billion in 2017, and the laptop market was valued to be at $300 million in 2018.

The Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority – established to utilise the opportunity of exploring the potential of the market with a series of incentives – declared exemption of income tax for park developers, investors, exemption of import duty, regulatory duty, and supplementary duty for producing ATM kiosks and CCTV cameras, exemption of duties on importing capital equipment and construction materials by the investors.

The new roadmap is aimed at accelerating the "Made in Bangladesh" initiative by utilising these facilities.

The availability of workforce at a competitive wage structure, an increasing domestic market demand, and a favourable policy structure are some of the factors that make Bangladesh an attractive market for digital device manufacturing, believes the ICT Division.

The success stories of manufacturing companies, such as Walton, Samsung, Oppo, and Data Soft make the division confident about further development of the domestic digital device manufacturing industry in the upcoming days.

The division, however, has also identified some constraints in the process of the roadmap implementation, and high capital expenditure in Bangladesh tops the list.

The other major limitations that the division has found include a lack of skilled manpower, poor industry ecosystem, quality assurance and international certification for locally manufactured products, a lack of regulations to prioritise local products in government purchases, a lack of awareness about locally manufactured products, and an absence of appropriate financial stimulus for the digital device manufacturers.


Key strategic factors

The new roadmap has been formulated focusing on four strategic issues – capacity building at the local level in the public and private sectors, awareness building and branding, research and development, and policy support.

The roadmap includes a set of short-term action plans to be implemented by 2023. It also incorporates some mid-term and long-term ones to be executed by 2028 and 2031, respectively.

In the short term, the authorities will estimate the demand for technology products after analysing the local as well as international markets, and formulate strategies for capacity building and marketing.

During this period, testing labs will be set up at the initiative of universities to ensure the quality of IT products. The Ministry of Commerce will take up initiatives to increase exports through bilateral and multilateral international agreements. A hub will be set up in Singapore, Dubai, England or any other country to export goods abroad.

With the help of the ICT Division, universities will create five lakh skilled workers for the ICT sector in the country by this time. The National Skill Development Authority will develop international standard training modules and syllabi.

In the next two years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take measures to understand the attitude of other countries towards Bangladesh and formulate and implement an action plan to overcome the negative attitude, if any.

The ICT Division will develop a national portal with details of ICT products produced in the country. Apart from that, steps will be taken to increase awareness among officials involved in government procurement about domestic products.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will work to bring down various tariffs and taxes on the digital device manufacturing industry and its backward linkages to a reasonable level.

The Ministry of Finance will take steps to provide loans on easy terms to the manufacturers of ICT products, while the Ministry of Commerce will look after the issues relating to incentives for the export of these products.

What experts say

AKM Fahim Mashroor, former president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), told The Business Standard that the initiative to reduce imports by increasing production of ICT products and to increase exports is commendable. He, however, suggested prioritising value addition, saying, "Without a plan to increase value addition, such initiatives will not yield desired outcome," mentioning that most of the entrepreneurs in the IT products manufacturing sector currently import almost 100% of the materials from abroad and only assemble those in their factories.

"Since the assembled products are not taxed as finished products, the government is being deprived of revenue. On the other hand, the factories are being run by employing only a nominal number of people."

Citing an example, he said the Bangladesh factory of Chinese mobile phone brand Xiaomi had started operation a couple of days ago with only 250 employees. If all the materials were produced in the country, thousands of people could be employed, he added.

"Even though the country has attached importance to industrialisation, the issue of backward linkages has remained neglected. If raw materials cannot be produced in the country, value addition will not increase. There will be no employment."

Fahim Mashroor also suggested imposing a certain amount of value-addition obligation on local digital products manufacturers to qualify for various facilities, including tax exemption.

BASIS President Syed Almas Kabir said, "The software development and solution sector in the country reached a stable position. We have to strengthen the hardware industry in line with the software industry."

Mentioning that some dozen companies have started producing mobile phones in the country and very few producers are manufacturing laptops, he said, "It is a fact that local factories would assemble digital devices at the initial stage and it would take time to increase the value addition at a standard level after a significant level of skills and knowledge transfer."

He stressed having a clear vision and roadmap to increase value-addition and employment generation.

Lauding the initiative to develop the roadmap, Almas Kabir said, "The roadmap is very essential as the level of investment in high-tech parks is very low. There is a lack of coordination among several ministries and divisions concerning the digital device industry. The roadmap would boost investment and ensure cooperation."

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ফেসবুকে চাকরি পেলেন দুই শাবি শিক্ষার্থী


 প্রকাশিত ০১:০১ দুপুর অক্টোবর ২৮, ২০২১


শাহজালাল বিজ্ঞান ও প্রযুক্তি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের (শাবিপ্রবি) কম্পিউটার সায়েন্স এন্ড ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং বিভাগের ২০১৩-১৪ বর্ষের শিক্ষার্থী মওদুদ আহমেদ শাহরিয়ার ও এম. নাজিম উদ্দিন ইউএনবি


জনপ্রিয় সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যম ফেসবুকে চাকরির সুযোগ পাওয়া দু’জনই সিলেটের শাহজালাল বিজ্ঞান ও প্রযুক্তি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের (শাবিপ্রবি) কম্পিউটার সায়েন্স এন্ড ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং বিভাগের সাবেক শিক্ষার্থী

জনপ্রিয় সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যম ও টেক্সট জায়ান্ট সাইট ফেসবুকে চাকরির সুযোগ পেয়েছেন সিলেটের শাহজালাল বিজ্ঞান ও প্রযুক্তি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের (শাবিপ্রবি) কম্পিউটার সায়েন্স এন্ড ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং বিভাগের দুই শিক্ষার্থী। চাকরির সুযোগ পাওয়া মওদুদ আহমেদ শাহরিয়ার ও এম. নাজিম উদ্দিন দু’জনই বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সিএসই বিভাগের ২০১৩-১৪ বর্ষের শিক্ষার্থী ছিলেন।

জানা যায়, চাকরির বিষয়টি ফেসবুক কর্তৃপক্ষ ই-মেইলের মাধ্যমে নিশ্চিত করেছেন। মওদুদ আহমেদ শাহরিয়ার ও এম. নাজিম উদ্দিন দুজনই ইংল্যান্ডের ফেসবুকের ইউরোপিয়ান সদর দপ্তরে সফটওয়্যার প্রকৌশলী হিসেবে যোগদান করবেন।

চলতি বছরের জুন মাসে ফেসবুক কর্তৃপক্ষ যোগাযোগ করে তাদের সাথে। বেশ কিছু ধাপে ভাইবার মাধ্যমে দক্ষতা যাচাই প্রক্রিয়া শেষ করে ফেসবুকে যোগদানের জন্য তাদেরকে নিয়োগের প্রস্তাবপত্র পাঠানো হয়। কোনো প্রকার জটিলতা না দেখা দিলে ২০২২ সালে ফেসবুকের এই দপ্তরে যোগদান করবেন বলে জানিয়েছেন দুজনেই।

নিজের অনুভূতি জানিয়ে মওদুদ আহমেদ শাহরিয়ার বলেন, “বিষয়টা আমার জন্য অবশ্যই খুশির খবর। ফেসবুকে বিশ্বের বিভিন্ন দেশের, বিভিন্ন সংস্কৃতির সফটওয়্যার প্রকৌশলীদের সাথে কাজ করার অভিজ্ঞতা হবে। আশা করি এই অভিজ্ঞতা পরবর্তীতে আরও বড় কাজে সাহায্য করবে। ছাত্র অবস্থায় বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে কম্পিটিটিভ প্রোগ্রামিংয়ের সাথে যুক্ত ছিলাম, ওই সময় অর্জিত দক্ষতা ফেসবুকের ভাইভায় উত্তীর্ণ হতে সাহায্য করেছে। যথাযথ সহায়তা পেলে বাংলাদেশ থেকে আরও অনেক শিক্ষার্থী বিশ্বের বড় সফটওয়্যার কোম্পানিগুলোতে কাজ করার সুযোগ পাবে বলে মনে করি।”

এম. নাজিম উদ্দিন বলেন, “আমি খুবই আনন্দিত গুগল ও ফেসবুকের মতো পৃথিবীর টপ টেক জায়ান্ট থেকে অফার পেয়ে। সবকিছু বিবেচনায় আমি ফেসবুকের অফার গ্রহণ করেছি। প্রস্তুতির সময়টুকু মোটেই সহজ ছিল না। আমি ধন্যবাদ জানাতে চাই আমার মা-বাবা, বন্ধু, সিনিয়রসহ সকলকে যারা আমাকে এই লম্বা প্রস্তুতির সময়টুকুতে সহযোগিতা করেছে, সাপোর্ট দিয়েছে। সত্যিকার অর্থে, ২০১৪ সালে যখন প্রোগ্রামিং শুরু করি, তখন থেকেই স্বপ্ন ছিল পৃথিবীর টপ-ক্লাস ইঞ্জিনিয়ারদের সাথে টেক জায়ান্টে জব করার।”

তিনি আরও বলেন, “বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় শেষ হওয়ার পর থেকেই প্রস্তুতি নেয়া শুরু করি গুগল, ফেসবুকের জন্য। প্রথম কয়েকবার আবেদন করে ব্যর্থও হই। কিন্তু সবসময় ই নিজের উপর বিশ্বাস ছিল। অবশেষে এই বছর জুন মাসে ফেসবুক ও গুগল থেকে যোগাযোগ করে তাদের প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোতে ভাইভা দেওয়ার জন্য। প্রায় দুই মাসব্যাপী ছয়টা করে ইন্টার্ভিউ নেয় গুগল ও ফেসবুক। সবগুলো ইন্টার্ভিউ ভালো হওয়ার পর দুই কোম্পানি থেকেই অফার করে। সবকিছু বিবেচনায় আমি ফেসবুকের লন্ডন অফিসের অফার গ্রহণ করি। কোনো জটিলতা না থাকলে আগামী ফেব্রুয়ারিতে যোগদান করব।”


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eGeneration signs an agreement with Robi Axiata Limited

 Tribune Desk

 Published at 05:07 pm October 28th, 2021


As part of the agreement, eGeneration will provide Microsoft solutions to Robi Axiata Limited for the facilitation of digital transformation throughout their organization

eGeneration, a leading systems integration and software solutions company in Bangladesh, has recently signed an agreement with Robi Axiata Limited, the leading digital service provider of the country, according to a press release. 

Managing Director of eGeneration, Shameem Ahsan and Robi’s Acting CEO and CFO, M Riyaaz Rasheed signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations recently. 

Microsoft’s, Country Managing Director, Yousup Faruqu; Dr Asif Naimur Rashid, chief information officer (CIO) of Robi Axiata limited; Mohammad Solaimun Rasel, vice president of the Platform Planning and Management Department, IT Division at Robi Axiata Limited and Emran Abdullah, director of Sales and Operations, eGenration Limited were present on the virtual occasion.

As part of the agreement, eGeneration will provide Microsoft solutions to Robi Axiata Limited for the facilitation of digital transformation throughout their organization. 

The solutions include productivity and collaboration tools, smart analytics solutions, task management software under a secure cloud platform.

Shameem Ahsan, managing director of eGeneration said: “We are delighted to work with Robi Axiata Limited and are looking forward to accompanying them on their digital transformation journey. Technological developments are progressing at a speedy pace thereby making modern workplace solutions a crucial element of the business strategies for organizations to promote business continuity and create maximum profitability.”

M Riyaaz Rasheed, acting CEO and CFO of Robi Axiata Limited said: “We firmly believe that innovation is the key to the digital future. But we can’t deliver new experiences in the lives of our customers if we fail to adopt digital solutions to optimize our work practices. In this context, we are delighted to partner with eGeneration to avail innovative digital solutions from Microsoft.”. 

Yousup Faruqu, country managing director of Microsoft said: “It is our pleasure to support Robi, one of the largest mobile network operators in Bangladesh. Being a forward-looking telco, Robi is always one step ahead when it comes to reaping the benefits of Microsoft365 and other solutions. We are looking forward to taking this partnership forward and creating value for the ecosystem”

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Govt to create 20,000 BPO professionals in five years

Published:  November 01, 2021 17:08:01

The ICT Division in partnership with the private sector will create 20,000 Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) professionals in the next five years through providing training online to college and university students.

As part of its beginning, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque on Monday inaugurated BPO skill development training programme via digital platform at Mushuddi Razia College of Dhanbari, Tangail.

Some 130 students of the college will get 60 hours of training in English and 80 hours of training in German language that are required for getting BPO work.

Chaired by Principal of the college Keshab Chandra Das, the function was addressed, among others, by LICT Project Director Tarique M Barkatullah and IT-ITES Policy Adviser Sami Ahmed, Chairman of Golden Harvest Infotech Rajeeb Samdani, CEO of A2Arena Asub Ullah Khan.

Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) and Golden Harvest Infotech jointly organised the function, reports UNB.

The minister said the ICT has expanded up to village level with the implementation of various initiatives under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Frontier technologies of the fourth Industrial revolution like Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics are being used in different sectors like agriculture.

"There's no alternative to skill development training, and we've to create skilled human resources on frontier technologies," Dr Razzaque said.

He said Bangladesh has now become a role model of development and this trend of development must have to be continued by fully utilising technology to turn Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041.

The BPO skill development training will fulfill the skill gap in English and German languages required to get work from the global outsourcing market, said Tarique M Barkatullah.

He said the training will enhance the capacity of BPO professionals to compete in the international market.

Sami Ahmed said ICT career camp, roadshow and campus activation are being organised in the country's colleges and universities to make the students aware to take training and build careers in BPO.

Bangladesh's BPO sector is gradually expanding over the last 12 years and local organisations, including banking and non-banking and insurances, have come forward to outsource their works, he added.

Ahmed Rajeeb Samdani said Bangladesh has become an attractive destination for investment due to the development of an ICT ecosystem by the government.

Asub Ullah Khan said they are putting emphasis on creating skilled human resources at village level and that is why this training programme has been launched at a Tangail village.

The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division has made partnership with Golden Harvest Infotech to provide the BPO skill development training in the WELEARN platform under BCC's training platform `www.bdskills.gov.bd'.

BCC and Golden Harvest Infotech will jointly issue certificates against those who will successfully complete training.

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Computer services export crosses $300m BASIS says actual amount is much higher

Mahmudul Hasan

Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:00 AM Last update on: Fri Oct 29, 2021 03:00 AM


Computer services export from Bangladesh has crossed the $300-million mark as the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged the global demand for data processing, hosting and consultancy services.

Local IT companies and freelancers have bagged an increased number of orders from clients across the globe since the crisis struck as customers had to rely more on digital tools to adapt to work-from-home practices.

The industry fetched $303.76 million in fiscal 2020-21, up 10 per cent year-on-year, showed data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

The higher earnings were driven by computer services such as data processing, hosting, consultancy, installation, and maintenance.

The receipts from the sales of IT-enabled services such as data processing and hosting increased around 27 per cent to $217 million.

Computer consultancy services raked in $24.07 million, up from $20.31 million a year ago. And it has continued to maintain the uptick.

In July, the earnings from computer services export grew three times to $78 million from $23 million a year ago.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, computer and IT services export plunged," said Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).

"But when the economies around the world started to reopen after a few months, foreign companies began to outsource, and our freelancers were taking a huge number of orders."

Companies in Bangladesh have now started to get high-value tasks such as graphics, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, and the hourly rate for the works is higher.

"This can also be attributed to the increase of computer services export," said Kabir. The entrepreneur put the annual export earnings from computer services at more than $1 billion, which is far higher than the EPB figures.

"This is because the government figures don't include the earnings of freelancers properly, and many service providers bring export proceeds through non-banking channels."

For the growing export orders, many IT firms have hired new employees, and many youths have found jobs in the sector.

Computer software export suffered a blow as it dropped 30 per cent year-on-year to $47.44 million in 2020-21. The earnings stood at $73 million in 2019-20.

Kabir blamed the closure of offices in Europe owing to the lockdowns for the decline in software exports.

"Many work orders were cancelled and suspended. Payments were not cleared, so many local companies were hit," he said.

Thanks to the recovery in global demand for e-commerce platforms and fintech, some software exporters were flooded with orders in the second half of the last fiscal year.

More than 225 companies from Bangladesh export software to over 80 countries, according to Rashad Kabir, managing director of Dream71 Bangladesh Ltd.

The software developer won multiple international tenders, and its revenue also shot up during the pandemic.

"The actual export is much higher than the data we have got from the EPB. Apart from the software companies, there are about 6 lakh freelancers whose income has not been reflected in the official figure," said Rashad, also a director of the BASIS.

Ferdous Ahmad Shaon, managing director of Cefalo Bangladesh Ltd, a software exporter focused on the European market, said the first few months of the pandemic had posed a major challenge as many orders were axed since many clients had to temporarily shut business.

"But since the beginning of this year, we have been witnessing some positive growth that we never witnessed," he said.

Cefalo hired more than 50 people in the past six to seven months to cater to the increasing orders.

"Businesses around the world have realised that digitalisation is an important tool to take on the blow of the pandemic. Every entity has increased their investment for the development of IT-related things," said Shaon.

"So, we are enlarging our existing teams. We have acquired seven to eight new customers."

The biggest growth occurred in the financial technology domain, and Cefalo is developing related apps for the European market.

The company is currently working on online food ordering systems for Europe and has received an order to automate hotels.

Export receipts for installation, maintenance and repair of computers and peripheral equipment services plummeted around 50 per cent year-on-year to $5.85 million in FY21. 

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Nine win at ICT Skills Competition-2021

Winners to take part in regional round in 2022

 FE ONLINE DESK | Published:  November 03, 2021 19:03:50


After ten months of fierce battles and different rounds, the names of the winners of ‘Bangladesh ICT Skills Competition 2021’, were announced through a gala event held online on Tuesday.

Huawei in partnership with Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) organised the event, according to a statement.

In this competition, almost 1,000 students from engineering universities were registered, out of which only 15 students from BUET, CUET, KUET, IUT, and NSU made it to the final round. Among them, two students scored 1000 out of 1000 in the 1st round while 10 students passed HCIA (Huawei Certified ICT Associate) certification in the second round, which was quite an outstanding show by the participants.

After the final round, three teams from three universities consisting of three members each were announced as the winners of this year’s ICT Skills Competition at the award ceremony event.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, graced the event as the chief guest with Beatrice Kaldun, head of the Office and UNESCO representative to Bangladesh; Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Bangladesh, in attendance.

In his speech, Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, “It is the competition which inspires our youth to reveal their latent talent. This is where many private entities, including Huawei, have played significant roles to align themselves with the goal of the government to empower the youth with the right set of skills. I thank Huawei for organising such a fierce competition, through which it will be possible to find future leaders who will lead us to Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

 “Today’s youth are the future of tomorrow. Huawei, with the ICT Skills Competition, is supporting Bangladesh’s emerging ICT talent and future ICT leaders by discovering their knowledge and equipping them with skills that will be useful and relevant to them both in their professional careers as well as lives We at UNESCO strongly appreciate Huawei’s efforts in supporting the youth of Bangladesh by providing them with valuable learning opportunities.” stated Beatrice Kaldun, head of the Office and UNESCO Representative to Bangladesh.

Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Bangladesh, shared, “Bangladesh is making great strides in digital transformation, so we thought it would be befitting to help the country achieve the goals. To that end, Huawei has been taking various initiatives including Bangladesh ICT Skills Competition to upskill the youth population, so that Bangladesh can keep marching forward relying on the strength of the future leaders.”

In this competition, the BUET team consisting of Sohan Salahuddin Mugdho, Rabeeb Ibrat, and Md Tahmidur Rafid has emerged as the champion; CUET team comprising Md Kaf Shahrier, Hasan Mesbaul Ali Taher and Suhana Binte Rashid became the first runner-up, and NSU team comprising Arif Ahmed Nowfel, Md Takiul Hasan Sakib, and Md Salim Reza Jim bagged the second runner up position. Each member of the champion, first runner-up and second runner up team was awarded with Huawei Laptop, Huawei Watch and Huawei Tab respectively. All these winners will be attending the regional round of the Huawei ICT Skills Competition to be held in Malaysia in May 2022. Besides, some of these winning students will have also the opportunity to work with Huawei.

Consisting of mainly two parts - ‘Practical Competition’ and ‘Theory Competition,’ ‘Bangladesh ICT Skills Competition 2021’ is meant for the science and engineering students. The sole purpose of this competition is to find out and inspire ICT talents. The contestants had to go through three rounds.

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Fantom, SELISE partner to implement blockchain tech in local financial sector

 Tribune Desk

 Published at 10:46 pm December 5th, 2021


SELISE CEO Julian Weber signs a partnership with Bangladesh representative of Fantom Barrister Abdul Muid Courtesy

By using Fantom’s powerful network, Swiss-Bangladeshi technology house SELISE aims to implement digital solutions in mobile payment, securities exchange, insurance, and banking at an unparalleled scalability without compromising on security and reliability

Fantom Foundation and SELISE have partnered together to bring Fantom’s smart contract technologies to the Bangladeshi financial services industry. 

By using Fantom’s powerful network, Swiss-Bangladeshi technology house SELISE aims to implement digital solutions in securities exchange, insurance, and banking sectors, with an exclusive focus on mobile financial services.

They announced the partnership with Fantom Foundation, which supports one of the largest public blockchain networks in the world, in November this year. 

Attended by distinguished guests, the two organizations signed their official partnership in a ceremony held on November 30 in Dhaka, reads a press release.

Fantom’s highly scalable smart contract platform, capable of running thousands of transactions per second, is instrumental in facilitating the development of decentralized apps (dApps) that power a multitude of disruptive business cases. 

It uses the latest and most advanced distributed ledger technology (DLT) with their unique Lachesis asynchronous Byzantine Fault-Tolerant (aBFT). 

As opposed to other non-Ethereum-compatible Layer 1 blockchain networks, Fantom draws on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) open-source technology stack for dApp developers making it very convenient to release blockchain powered software without having to get acquainted with new tools and programming languages.

With fees averaging just a few cents, Fantom also solves the gas fee problem of Ethereum, making it the most cost-efficient way to deploy and execute sophisticated smart contracts. 

Thus, Fantom becomes the first choice for fungible tokens (FTs), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), non-transferable tokens (NTTs) as well as privacy driven solutions in the spaces of health care, money transfer, microfinance, and central bank digital currencies.

Fantom’s technology is also extremely efficient, using less energy to securely confirm transactions than a single average household in the US, thus making it the eco-friendly solution for blockchain applications.

“We follow Gartner’s model of Composable Business, where we combine our engineering capabilities with various third-party building blocks such as low code platforms, artificial intelligence, PaaS and many more. We are excited to add Fantom Foundation, a world-leading innovator in the DeFi space, to our arsenal,” said Julian Weber, CEO of SELISE.

SELISE works with customers from all over the world and in sectors such as insurance, healthcare, services, industry, consumer goods, telecommunications, and logistics. 

Through its unique methodology and market-based management philosophy SELISE creates significant added value that helps companies achieve a more competitive position.

“It is crucial for our growth in real world applications to win strong technology partners like SELISE who promote our technology to a wide global audience and essentially implement blockchain based solutions for businesses and governments around the world,” said Michael Kong, CEO of Fantom.

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Joynal Abedin Shishir

11 December, 2021, 10:35 pm

Last modified: 11 December, 2021, 10:39 pm

Young entrepreneur Azizul leaves mark on IT sector

Yearly turnover in Azizul’s ‘Nextdecade Technology’ is over Tk35 crore



Mohammad Azizul Hoque, a young and successful entrepreneur from Chandpur district's kachua, started to evince interest in the information technology sector when he was in college.

After taking admission in Dhaka's City College in 2001, Azizul began working on webpage designing and assembling personal computers by collecting hard disks, motherboard and other computer equipment.

Using the little savings he made through troubleshooting computers, he bought a few computers in 2006 and started his own company Nextdecade Technology Limited, which initially was a web development firm. Later, he started communicating with other companies and gradually expanded to software development.

At present, yearly turnover in Azizul's company is over Tk35 crore, with 150 IT professionals working there.

The mid-career entrepreneur is one of the recipients of the National SME Entrepreneur Award 2021.

Speaking to The Business Standard, Azizul, the Nextdecade owner said, "In the beginning, I needed to have a lot of funds and do research for large-scale software development. I had to give up many products to multinational companies as gaining their trust was the most challenging for me."

Azizul's initiative, efficiency and innovative activities of the company came to the notice of a private financial institution, which supported him at the time. Azizul then created Over-the-Top (OTT) services for the telecom operator Banglalink.

Over-the-top (OTT) services, popularly known as streaming services, provide television channels and other film content to users using the Internet service instead of the conventional cable or dish connection. Banglalink introduced OTT services for their customers under the name of Toffee Apps.

Toffee is currently a popular app among Bangladeshis, especially young people. The app currently has about 16 million users in Bangladesh.

The technology called VTS (vehicle tracking solution) is also an invention of Azizul's NextDecade Technology Limited, he said.

"There is a huge international market here. Many students studying IT in this country want to be entrepreneurs in the IT sector and have all kinds of talents, but due to lack of money they are forced to go for jobs, go to other professions and waste their talents," said Azizul.

"If the state provides collateral-free easy bank loans to young, small and medium entrepreneurs, the future young generation will be able to earn a lot of foreign currency," he said, adding that annual turnover of his company can go up to at least Tk150-160 crore in the next 10 years if they receive government patronage, which will also create employment for 1000 to 15000 people.

Asked about the matter, SME Foundation Managing Director Dr Mafizur Rahman told TBS, "The government is keen on providing long-term collateral-free loan facilities to SME entrepreneurs and it is also urging banks to provide loan facilities to small entrepreneurs in this category." 

Commenting on Azizul's success, Dr Mafizur Rahman said, "The business success of Azizul Hoque in the IT sector has inspired small young entrepreneurs across the country." 

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